On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20, get to the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., to see Let the Fire Burn, a powerful award-winning documentary on the racist maneuvering, shooting and bombing of a Philadelphia neighborhood block by police in an attempt to end the existence of the organization MOVE. The film starts at 5 p.m. and is FREE.
In the astonishingly gripping Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated—and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “...let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.